The Government will spend $20 million through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to develop and expand predator control methods which will reduce the use of 1080 across the country.

The funding was provided to Predator Free 2050, a Crown-owned company, to contract various projects to improve predator-eradication tools and technologies.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said new types of traps, surveillance and data-management technologies, lures and remote-sensing tools could all be among the new innovations produced because of the funding.

She and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the funding announcement at Wellington native wildlife sanctuary Zealandia this morning.


"The new approach will focus on maintaining predator-free environments using innovative techniques once initial eradication in the project areas has been achieved," Jones said.

"This will reduce the need to use 1080 to maintain predator-free status in these areas."

According to the Department of Conservation (DOC), 1080 is the only method of pest control that can be deployed rapidly to manage a pest boom over vast or rugged terrain.

The poison is cost-effective and presents very little risk to the environment, DOC's website said.

Despite this, opposition groups say 1080 is cruel – animal rights group SAFE said it causes a slow and painful death to the pests it targets.

Jones said the funding would bring tens of thousands of hectares of rural and forested land under predator control, create regional jobs and stimulate demand for education at regional training institutes.

In fact, he said some of the innovations made possible by the funding could even be picked up internationally.

"It would move us on from what I'm finding an incredibly tiresome debate about 1080."


Sage said the funding would help further protect New Zealand's natural assets, and support regional growth.

From here, Predator Free 2050 would seek expressions of interest from predator-eradication projects from local authorities and community-backed entities in the PGF "surge regions" – regions that face high unemployment, low wages and low productivity when compared to the rest of the country.

These regions are Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Cape, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui and the West Coast.